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The most popular online stories of 2020

Saturday 2 January 2021 | Written by Emmanuel Samoglou | Published in Features, Weekend


The most popular online stories of 2020

Here’s the top 10 online stories of 2020 from Cookislandsnews.com.

Hundreds of thousands of readers visited cookislandsnews.com in 2020. Here are our most-read stories:

  1. School breaches boy’s ‘human rights’ – Topping the list, readers were shocked to learn that one of the nation’s sons living in Australia had been told by his school that he must get his hair cut – even though his haircutting ceremony wasn’t supposed to happen until the following year. A debate over human rights vs. school policy ensued between the boy’s family and school officials.
  2. Famed resorts to close – Before Government had publicised its Covid-19 financial rescue package for individuals and businesses, many began to fear for the worst when the last tourists flew out of the country. Early on, Associate Editor Katrina Tanirau spoke to local tourism businessman Tata Crocombe who was looking at no bookings, threatening over 200 jobs at The Rarotongan, Sanctuary Rarotonga and Aitutaki Lagoon Private Resort.
  3. Teen gets out of Raro – only to be trapped in Auckland airport – In this Covid-19 tale, former CI News Editor Jonathan Milne tells the tale of a 19-year-old au pair who was stranded in Rarotonga before becoming trapped Auckland International Airport transit, preventing her from reaching her final destination: Germany.
  4. Former Cooks prime minister Dr Joe Williams in hospital – The nation’s eyes and ear were diverted to Auckland in August when former Cook Islands prime minister Dr Joe Williams was admitted to hospital with Covid-19. The highly respected leader would eventually succumb to the disease a month later.
  5. ‘Heartbreak’ at tourism leader’s sudden death – When tourism leader Sue Fletcher-Vea passed away suddenly in June, family were joined by shocked industry colleagues to pay their respects to the highly-regarded industry and community leader.
  6. All schools closed as big storm hits Rarotonga – With tourism still in full swing in February, Rarotonga was struck by some nasty weather – specifically tropical disturbance TD08F – which caused schools to shut down and the seawall road to close.
  7. Air NZ goes to ground in deluge of enquiries – As Covid-19 began to envelop the Cook Islands, New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern began making tough decisions. And one of the most impactful would be placing strict controls on travel to Pacific Island nations. Editor Rashneel Kumar, at the time CI News senior reporter, provided this report on how a spate of flight cancellations by the airline would affect residents and the few remaining tourists desperately trying to return to their home countries.
  8. Medical science and the Bible – The only non-news story on our top 10 list, this Church Talk column by Bishop Tutai Pere of the Apostolic Church looks at early mentions of what is often thought of as modern science in the Bible.
  9. Sweet as! Simon bakes his way to grand final - When Rarotonga concreter Simon Rasmussen whipped up an unprecedented appearance in the grand finale of a popular Australian cooking show, Cook Islands residents were captivated by his success with what was at the time an unknown pastime of his: baking. CI News spoke to Rasmussen about how his hobby thrusted him into the limelight.
  10. Couple: ‘We don’t know what to do’ – Travelling since September 2019, a young Swedish couple had just returned from an idyllic holiday on Aitutaki in March. They arrived in Rarotonga expecting to board an Air New Zealand flight back to Auckland, and from there, home. It wasn’t meant to be. Again, blame “The Covid”.